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‘Diabolical’ pensions trap flagged for EOFY

Super

As 30 June approaches, accountants with SMSF clients should be wary of minimum pension payment requirements, particularly for reversionary pensions.

By Miranda Brownlee4 minute read

A panel of superannuation experts discussed key strategies and EOFY reminders for SMSFs in 2019, which you can view for free and in full here.

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During the webcast, BGL Corporate Solutions product manager Anthony Fernandez said one of the main things that SMSF professionals and their clients need to watch out for in the lead-up to the end of the financial year is ensuring the minimum pension amount has been paid.

Mr Fernandez said this can sometimes be a problem where the fund has not been finalised properly from the year before, as it means the minimum amounts for the current year may have been calculated incorrectly.

“Also, if the member has jumped from 74 to 75, for example, there’s going to be an increase in the percentage that needs to be drawn down, which they need to bear in mind,” he added.

“That increase in the pension percentage is something you need to plan for, because you need to ensure you have the liquidity in the fund to be able to take that money out.”

Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn stressed that the failure to withdraw the minimum where it’s a reversionary pension is particularly problematic.

“Failure to take the minimum pension on a reversionary pension is a diabolical outcome because, if you can’t take a pension, then you are forced to take a lump sum. So, it’s absolutely critical,” he cautioned.

Given the transfer balance account reporting requirements, Mr Dunn said the timeliness of when pensions are started is also important now.

“An accountant might say, well, the optimum tax position is to go back and say that there was an oral decision or a request to say that it was done on 1 July, but if we’re in April or May, well, that actually needed to be reported by 28 October,” he explained.

“So, there’s actually a strategic decision that needs to be made around the timeliness of when that pension starts, so it might not be that we’re trying to max out the tax effect of that particular year.”

Mr Dunn also reminded SMSF practitioners that the ATO has updated its market valuation guidelines on its website in respect to how it deals with events.

“You don’t actually need the account balance at the time if you use fair and reasoned process to deal with that,” he said.

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‘Diabolical’ pensions trap flagged for EOFY
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Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee

AUTHOR

Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

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